Washington Post has photos and profiles of each of the victims right here.
"And yes," Media Matters' Eric Boehlert notes, "in the 48 hrs since the Newtown shooting, more than 160 Americans have died from gun fire; 300+ have been injured".
w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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Washington Post has photos and profiles of each of the victims right here.
"And yes," Media Matters' Eric Boehlert notes, "in the 48 hrs since the Newtown shooting, more than 160 Americans have died from gun fire; 300+ have been injured".
A few items of late that have caught our eye, but we haven't had time to cover in detail. So, you get the Readers Digest versions for now. You're welcome!
• Susan Rice and the Democrats once again succumb to the demands of terrorists.
• Whodathunkit? But questions arise about the legitimacy of the claims made by Fox' latest wannabe James O'Keefe, about that video purporting to show an "unprovoked attack" by "union thugs" outside the capital building in Lansing, MI this week. The most amazing part? Someone at The New York Times --- yes, that New York Times --- is one of those actually noticing the big honkin' edit in the middle of the video, rather than just reporting it all as unquestioned fact.
• Eric Holder spoke about the need to protect voting rights at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. We have more than a few bones to pick about it, but we'll just point you to the actual speech for the moment.
• What's the difference between this and just stealing? House Republicans secretly --- secretly --- authorized $500,000 in tax payer dollars to defend the unconstitutional "Defense of Marriage Act". More of that small government "conservatism", apparently.
• Finally, for now, the critically acclaimed Zero Dark Thirty, the new theatrical film about the manhunt for Osama Bin Laden, reportedly glorifies the torture that led to his capture and killing, even though no torture whatsoever actually led to his capture and killing.
Very big news just out today for fans of the U.S. Constitution and equal protection under the law --- both conservative values, upheld by conservative Republican judge after conservative Republican judge across the country over recent years --- which we here at The BRAD BLOG strongly support.
And, once again, before sharing the news, our caveat to those who are against all of the above, a reminder that no matter how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issues surrounding marriage equality, it will never be mandatory that you get gay married...
At the very least, the court will look at this question: When states choose to permit the marriages of same-sex couples, can the federal government refuse to recognize their validity? But by also taking up the California case, the court could get to the more fundamental question of whether the states must permit marriages by gay people in the first place.
The California case involves a challenge to Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment approved by 52 percent of voters in 2008. It banned same-sex marriages in the state and went into effect after 18,000 couples were legally married earlier that year.
A federal judge declared the ban unconstitutional, and a federal appeals court upheld that ruling, though on narrower grounds that apply only to California. Now that the Supreme Court is wading into the battle, the justices could decide the more basic issue of whether any state can ban same-sex marriage under the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection of the law. Or they could limit their ruling to apply only to the ban in California.
While we've been watching the situation, and talking about it on radio over the past week, here at The BRAD BLOG we've yet to have time to cover what's going on in Arizona --- most acutely in Maricopa County (Phoenix) --- where some half a million ballots remain untallied a week after the election when many Hispanic voters who thought they were registered to vote, were directed to cast a provisional ballot instead...for some reason.
Under Arizona law, those voters have until Wednesday to show up to the County Clerk's office with ID to prove they are who they said they were when they cast their ballots last week. The approximately 486,405 uncounted ballots across the state include 307,620 early ballots and 178,785 provisionals. That's 1 out of 4 ballots cast across the state still not included in the results, to date.
In the bargain, a whole bunch of Arizona races --- including their U.S. Senate race, a number of U.S. House races, and several state and local races --- remain officially "undecided" at the moment and/or could see their currently announced "winners" become losers.
The DoJ's Civil Rights Division, according to TPM, may, or may not, be keeping their eyes on the situation there.
The Hispanic community in the state, thankfully, is not taking this one sitting down...especially not after standing in line for hours just to cast their vote, or, in this case, provisional ballots that may or may not be counted. They have been surrounding the Maricopa County Clerk's office in a 24 hour vigil, and phone-banking to call those who were forced to vote provisionally, to let them know they need to get back to the Clerk's office ASAP to try and assure their vote actually gets counted.
This is among the darkest sides of the GOP's War on Democracy that we've been covering all year (for many years, actually) and the shameful battle continues at this hour. We may have more details in the days ahead (on this, and other uncounted ballots and undecided races in other states as well), but, for now, Rachel Maddow did a great overview on MSNBC last night, of the assault on democracy currently being played out in Arizona...
A little more than four months ago, when The BRAD BLOG first covered the ACLU's legal challenge to the deceptive ballot language that the MN GOP state legislature had used to describe its polling place Photo ID restriction initiative on the November 6 ballot, we expressed the concern that the legal challenge might succeed before the MN Supreme Court, yet fail in the court of public opinion. At the time public opinion polls revealed that 80% of Minnesota voters favored the amendment. We were wrong on both counts.
In August, a divided MN Supreme Court rejected the ACLU's challenge to the language used in the ballot question. By late September, the once popular "Photo ID needed to stop voter fraud" scam had become well enough debunked by so many that, as we we noted at the time, support for the misleading measure in the Land of 10,000 Lakes had "cratered" in public opinion polls there. And, finally, yesterday, MN voters reportedly rejected the Photo ID amendment by a decisive margin of 54% to 46%.
In our original coverage, we cited Mark Twain's famous quip that "a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes," and the pervasive failure of the mainstream media to expose the truth about the GOP's "Big Lie" about pretend "voter fraud." But we had underestimated the extent to which legal challenges to Photo ID and other forms of GOP voter suppression, especially in Pennsylvania, would compel MSM coverage and educate the public...
Earlier today, Brad Friedman reported in detail on the uncertified, "experimental" software patches that Ohio's Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) had secretly contracted [PDF] with Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) to create and install at the very last minute onto electronic central vote tabulation systems in 39 Ohio counties, encompassing more than 4 million Buckeye State voters.
We noted that Bob Fitrakis, one of the Ohio journalists at the Columbus Free Press who had initially broken the story late last week, was planning to file a legal complaint and temporary restraining order in hopes of blocking the use of the mysterious, untested software on the ES&S central tabulation systems in those counties.
Late tonight, just hours from the official opening of Election Day polls in the Buckeye State tomorrow, we obtained copies of both the complaint [PDF] and the motion for a temporary restraining order [PDF] which have now been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division and where oral argument has been scheduled for tomorrow morning, Election Day, at 9am local time before Judge Gregory L. Frost, a George W. Bush appointee...
The Oct. 23, 2012 Third Party Presidential Debate between four candidates vying, along with President Obama and Mitt Romney, for the office of the U.S. Presidency, provided a rare, yet valuable glimpse at what a genuine, representative American democracy might look like. The worthy discussion, at the very least, should be read via text transcript, exclusively available here at The BRAD BLOG, for those who lack the time to watch the ninety minute video, embedded below.
Unlike Democracy Now's three expanded debates, which presented third party candidate responses to the questions posed at the three "official" Presidential debates and one Vice-Presidential debate sponsored by the so-called Commission on Presidential Debates, the Oct. 23 debate provided a forum that was not tethered to what co-moderator Christina Tobin of the Free and Equal Foundation, the organizers, described as "the private interests who control our beliefs, our opinions and our lives." Here, questions were neither posed directly by, nor filtered through corporate media-controlled moderators. Rather, they were presented, word-for-word, as submitted by citizens through social media.
With the single exception of the failure of Libertarian Candidate and former New Mexico Republican Governor Gary Johnson to say where he stood on "top-two" primaries (aka "Cajun primaries"), it was a debate in which all candidates left no room for doubt as to where they stood. It was a debate that included in-depth discussion on a wide variety of issues of vital importance, many of which were understandably evaded not only by the two major party Presidential candidates, but by the corporate media in the official debates, because those issues conflict with corporate wealth and power, including the wealth of the corporate-owned media.
It was a debate that began with Tobin's promise of future debates between "more candidates at every level of government" and ended with her surprise announcement of a final, foreign policy debate, next Tuesday, Oct. 30, commencing at 9:00 p.m. ET, broadcast via RT America, between two of the four candidates to be selected via an [ugh] online, instant run-off vote...
Democracy Now!'s "extended second debate" (see video below), featuring third-party candidate responses to questions from last week's "official" Presidential Debate at Hofstra University side-by-side with the two main party candidates, illustrates the malaise of an American electorate which senses a fundamental disconnect between the promise of "change we can believe in" offered up by one of two corporate sponsored candidates, even as political and economic inequality, outsourcing and war have expanded over the past four years.
Yet, the only other voice generally offered to the American electorate is the 21st century equivalent to a snake-oil salesman, whose entire work in the private sector, along with a brief stint as a governor, have been devoted to outsourcing, predatory capitalism and greater inequality. He is a candidate who not only seeks to retain the deficit-exploding Bush tax cuts, but wants to pile on with a $5 trillion pig-in-a-poke tax cut for the billionaire class. That tax-cut, coupled with a massive give-away to the military-industrial complex would, of necessity, reduce government to the point that it would be incapable of performing its constitutionally recognized core function of promoting the general welfare.
The comments made by Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party Presidential candidate, at the time of her unsuccessful attempt to enter the second Presidential debate --- an attempt which resulted in her being arrested and cuffed to a chair for eight hours --- along with the substantive dialogue produced by Stein, Justice Party Presidential candidate Rocky Anderson, and Constitution Party Presidential candidate Virgil Goode, Jr., during Democracy Now's "extended second debate", underscore what Noam Chomsky referred to in Failed States as the "democracy deficit" --- the significant gap between the policy positions of the vast majority of American citizens and the political elites who supposedly represent them...
We've been remiss in highlighting the smart work of comedian, activist and very smart social satirist Lee Camp here at The BRAD BLOG. He's done some terrific stuff on Election Integrity, voter suppression and e-voting issues, here for example. Or just do yourself a favor and browse his full YouTube channel here.
So, as I'm still clawing my way out from under the weather this week, allow me to let Camp fill you in on what happened last night when Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein and her running mate Cheri Honkala --- who will be on 85% of the ballots in the U.S. this November, qualifying them for more than enough electorate votes to actually, ya know, win the Presidency --- were arrested and then reportedly shackled to metal chairs for 8 hours thereafter, for little more than having the temerity to show up and try to gain entrance to the "official" Presidential Debate at Hofstra University in New York.
I'm more than happy to associate myself with Camp's outrage...
Video of the arrest of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates, for "blocking traffic", and the somewhat remarkable transcript of what was said during the first part of it, courtesy of Democracy Now!, follows below...
The old baseball adage that three strikes and you are out applies to Ohio's Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted and his underhanded effort to emulate his predecessor, the infamous J. Kenneth Blackwell (R), by preventing Early Voting for all over the last three days before the November 6, 2012 election.
That effort, to restrict voting in those days to active-duty military voters only, was first rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus (strike one!) whose decision was upheld in all aspects by a three judge panel of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal --- strike two!
When Brad Friedman interviewed the former Democratic Ohio Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner in mid-August, she explained how Husted's efforts to limit early voting were "clearly aimed at 'Souls to the Polls,'" the very successful effort by African-American churches to encourage their congregations to get out and vote on the Sunday before Election Day. During the 2008 election, nearly 100,000 largely Democratic-leaning voters cast their vote over that weekend.
Husted, who previously backed off an earlier effort to obstruct Judge Economus' initial order, filing an apology to the court in early September, has now issued a directive informing all County Election Boards "to open for early voting from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Nov. 3, 1-5 p.m. on Nov. 4 and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Nov. 5," according to the Chicago Tribune.
Contrary to the initial lie spun by the right wing echo chamber and by Mitt Romney himself, this case in no way impacted the right of military voters to cast Early Absentee ballots. To the contrary, it assured that all lawfully registered voters could do so.
This is a very clear victory for democracy.
UPDATE: The order [PDF] reveals that although Husted filed the application for a stay with Justice Kagan, she referred the request "to the Court," which, in turn, denied the stay without any dissents.
This is really rather astonishing.
After having been told by two federal courts --- a U.S. District Court in late August and then a 3-judge panel on the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals just last week --- that the Ohio GOP's attempt to restrict Early Absentee Voting in the final three days before Election Day, for all but active-duty military voters, is an unconstitutional violation of voting rights, disproportionately effecting low-income and minority voters, the state's Republican Sec. of State Jon Husted is, nonetheless, appealing the rulings yet again.
This time, Husted is skipping an appeal to the full 6th Circuit and going directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a statement issued today, Husted describes last week's ruling at the Appellate Court, upholding the lower court's ruling, as "stunning" and an "unprecedented intrusion by the federal courts into how states run elections." (Perhaps Husted was out of the country for Bush v. Gore in late 2000?)
At the core of Husted's complaint is the fact that, by overturning the GOP's restrictions on Early Voting for all but active-duty military, so that all eligible voters can vote during those days, Ohio's 88 county Boards of Election will once again be able to set their own hours for voting over those days. That, argues Husted (disingenuously, for reasons explained in a moment), will lead to a lack of uniformity across the state.
"This ruling not only doesn’t make legal sense, it doesn’t make practical sense," Husted says in his statement announcing his plan to appeal today. "The court is saying that all voters must be treated the same way under Ohio law, but also grants Ohio’s 88 elections boards the authority to establish 88 different sets of rules. That means that one county may close down voting for the final weekend while a neighboring county may remain open. How any court could consider this a remedy to an equal protection problem is stunning."
While Husted's remarks about the possibility of differing hours for Early Voting in differing Ohio counties, strictly speaking, are correct, they are also purposely misleading and, more to the point, entirely disingenuous...And Husted knows it...
Via Ryan Reilly at TPM:
"The State's asserted goal of accommodating the unique situation of members of the military, who may be called away at a moment's notice in service to the nation, is certainly a worthy and commendable goal," the court ruled. "However, while there is a compelling reason to provide more opportunities for military voters to cast their ballots, there is no corresponding satisfactory reason to prevent non-military voters from casting their ballots as well."
In short, the attempt by Ohio Republicans to keep Democratic-leaning voters, who turned out in droves to support Obama in 2008 on the final weekend before Election Day from voting, has failed yet again.
A 3-judge panel on the 6th Circuit of Appeals has upheld, as our legal analyst Ernie Canning describes it, "every aspect of" the lower court's ruling in August. The ruling comes as yet another stinging defeat for Ohio Republicans and Sec. of State Jon Husted (R) and their attempt to restrict voting rights in the Buckeye State. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling is available here [PDF].
This case began as an attempt by the Obama campaign and Democrats to restore voting rights removed by Republicans, for no reason other than to disenfranchise voters. It became widely public, as a blatant lie by the editor of Breitbart.com who lied about Obama attempting to keep military voters from being able to vote. It was then advanced by Fox "News" and even the Romney campaign who repeated the lie, and it all recently culminated in an apology to the court by Ohio's Secretary of State who had attempted to ignore the lower court's ruling which was ultimately upheld today.
Despite all of those embarrassments, and today's latest court victory, there remains a bit of wiggle room for the OH GOP if they still wish to attempt to keep voters --- or, as the Republican Party Chair and Election Board Commissioner of Franklin County (Columbus), OH put it, " the urban --- read African American --- voter-turnout machine" --- from exercising their right to vote during the final three days before the November 6th Presidential Election...
I had a lot to pack in to about 4 minutes on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture TV show last night, but I did my best, including a tasty new morsel on Florida's criminal investigation into the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal that I was able to obtain just before air, and which I haven't yet broken elsewhere...
As referenced in the video above:
By the way, while I try to include the following tag below when posting our Election Integrity stories, I usually get few takers. Your support this time of year is crucial, as I simply don't have much time for fund raising at all, or even for selling stories elsewhere (which sometimes helps to cover some of the expenses we have here). I'd rather be reporting, than fund raising, especially now. So anything you can do to hit the tip jar below is greatly appreciated! I do hate asking, but I have to. So my great thanks in advance!
Today, democracy in Pennsylvania was granted a reprieve. For now. Of a sort.
In response to a recent state Supreme Court remand, unanimously voiding his previous August ruling, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson, a Republican, issued his new ruling [PDF] today on the state GOP's polling place Photo ID restriction law.
He enjoined just a part of the law, but it effectively strikes down the most onerous provision of it --- but only for this November's Presidential election. There were also a number of troubling caveats with what he left in place, rather than striking down the entire statute as the petitioners had sought.
There has been some confused and confusing reporting on the ruling today. Here is where --- barring any additional court challenges --- the law stands at this moment, just over one month from Election Day...
Hopefully that clarifies the key points of today's ruling, which is being misreported in some quarters.
Also of note, the court refused to enjoin the Commonwealth's tax-payer funded $5 million ad campaign, as written into the statute for the purposes of "educating" the public about the polling place Photo ID requirement (even though it no longer practically applies for this election.)
Given that, and given that poll workers may still ask for ID this November, and given that the Photo ID requirements, barring more legal challenges, will be allowed to take effect next year, it is almost guaranteed that confusion will reign in parts of Pennsylvania this year. On the upside, the 1.6 million otherwise-eligible voters who it was feared could be disenfranchised, will at least be allowed to vote in this year's Presidential election, presuming they can navigate all of the confusion left in place by Judge Simpson.
Contrary to the claim made by GOP "voter fraud" fraudster, Hans Van Spakovsky, the court did not rule on the constitutionality of PA's Photo ID statute. A ruling on that aspect of the law will not be made until after the case proceeds to a trial, following the election, on the plaintiff's request for a permanent injunction.
Tonight, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow also discussed the confusion likely to be brought by the state's continuing ad campaign along with the other vagueries allowed to continue by Judge Simpson's ruling today...
A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court judge may be on the verge of "splitting the baby" in his latest ruling on the challenge to the state Republicans' polling place Photo ID law, despite a clear mandate from the state Supreme Court ordering him to either find the new law will not disenfranchise any voters this year, or block it entirely with an injunction.
Last Friday, attorneys representing the petitioners in a lawsuit challenging the legality of the state GOP's draconian polling place Photo ID law, filed a 26-page Post Hearing Brief [PDF] in which they counseled Commonwealth Judge Robert E. Simpson not to defy the state Supreme Court by issuing only a "limited injunction" in the case.
Such a ruling, they argue, could force a minimum of 90,000, but perhaps as many as 1.6 million voters who lack the requisite Photo IDs, to cast provisional ballots --- which are sometimes counted, sometimes not --- during the Nov. 6, 2012 election.
The brief was filed one day after Judge Simpson informed the parties to the case that, despite evidence that there was no conceivable means by which the Commonwealth could supply all of the otherwise eligible voters with the requisite Photo IDs now needed to vote under the new law before the Nov. 6 election, he was inclined to enjoin only that portion of the Photo ID law's provisional ballot section that contains disenfranchising language.
Petitioners contend not only that such an injunction would defy the mandate laid down by the Supreme Court when it vacated Judge Simpson's previous order earlier this month, denying their request for a preliminary injunction, but that it would amount to an "inadequate remedy" that would create "a bifurcated system" that would entail a "naked disenfranchisement" of untold numbers of previously-eligible voters.
From the content of the brief, it is clear that unless Judge Simpson issues a full preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the Photo ID law with respect to the Nov. 6 election, this case will be headed back to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court once again, just over 30 days before the Presidential Election...
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